Biomass has always been an important energy source for India considering the benefits and promises it offers. It is a carbon neutral fuel source for the generation of electricity. About 32% of the total primary energy use in the country is derived from biomass and more than 70% of the country’s population depends upon it for their energy needs.
Agricultural wastes based biomass power plants
Biomass power plants in India are based mostly on agricultural wastes. The power plants are providing a great solution for off-grid decentralized power and are lighting homes in several Indian states. While for providing grid-based power 8-15 MW thermal biomass power plants are suitable for Indian conditions, they stand nowhere when compared to power plants being set up in Europe which are at least 20 times larger.
biomass power plant in India
Energy from biomass is reliable as it is free of fluctuation unlike wind power and does not need storage to be used in times of non-availability as is the case with solar. Still it is not the preferred renewable energy source till now, the primary reason that may be cited is the biomass supply chain. Biomass availability is not certain for whole year. Biomass from agriculture is available only after harvesting period which can stretch only for 2-3 months in a year. So there is a need to procure and then store required quantity of biomass within this stipulated time. Building a complete biomass chain will be in urgent for the biomass power plants.
Also, the electricity generation could be cheaper than coal if biomass could be sourced economically but some established biomass power plants tend to misuse the limit of coal use provided to them (generally 10-15% of biomass use) to keep it operational in lean period of biomass supply. Measures and projects should be carried out by the government to perfect the utilization of biomass potentials in India.
A state of Indian, Uttar Pradesh has utilized large part of the biomass potential in north Indian States and that is mainly due to the sugarcane industry and the co-generation power plants. The bagasse fired boilers in the power plant are used to generate steam to drive the turbines and then generate electricity for the local. It is believed that in the future biomass power plants will be the main co-generation source for the country.
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